With  Search Engine Optimization more and more becoming the most important business change you can put in place, you know you’d better do it the right way. And although Google admits they even they don’t know the best way to do SEO, do SEO you must.

Matt Cutts, Google’s head engineer for ferreting out search spam, link spam, or whatever you call it, despite being the guy in charge of making sure that your web site isn’t doing anything dirty, does a series of videos where he explains how SEO works (and how SEO isn’t supposed to work).

In his latest video, Matt addresses “time out” penalties: when you do Search Engine Optimization in a naughty way, one of the penalties Google uses is banning you from search results for some period of time. Cutts doesn’t say what behavior equates to which SEO time ban penalty, but as I pointed out after we ran an experiment effecting Answer Guy Central’s own Search Engine Optimization, I’ve seen the 90-day penalty first-hand.

The most important thing to learn from watching Matt Cutts talk about time-outs is that Google seems to be saying that there’s no such thing as a permanent ban from the Google search index. And Mr. Cutts makes a common sense point about when Google might reconsider you automatically after you’ve done black-hat SEO as opposed to when it might require some manual intervention by a Google employee tasked with judging the way you’ve gone about Search Engine Optimization.

So JC Penney, despite having undertaken what may be the most egregious Black-Hat Search Engine Optimization scheme in history, was only gigged a few pages by Google and will eventually climb back to the top of Search Engine Rankings.

Is that OK? Part of me wants to see both JC Penney and their SEO Consultant penalized into oblivion. On the other hand, dropping a huge retail player like JC Penney completely out of Search Engine results doesn’t seem to be right for the people who rely on those results.

On the other, other hand, if Google drops JC Penney by sixty or eighty places as a penalty for doing black-hat Search Engine Optimization and attaches a time penalty, then they’ll climb right back to #1 as soon as the time penalty expires, even without addressing the problems that got them there.

So maybe the answer is that it’s time for Google to reveal all the details of their secret search engine optimization sauce.

Oh sure, with enough details it’s possible that the SEO bad guys will find a new way to game the system. Then again, with everything out in the open both Google and its users everyone else will know which of Google’s results are trustworthy and which are all black-hat SEO’d up.

Again: you must get your Search Engine Optimization under control. I’ve heard SEO compared to some sleazy things, and I can assure you it’s not until you make it so; done correctly, Search Engine Optimization is simply the way you get found on the Internet.

Want to know more about SEO? Contact The Answer Guy About Search Engine Optimization.

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